Why Amber Heard Only Has To Pay $350,000 Of Depp's $5 Million Punitive Damages



Amber Heard's defamation trial against ex-husband Johnny Depp ended in defeat for the Aquaman star.

Following three days of deliberating for 12 hours, jurors in the high profile trial ruled 58-year-old Depp the victor on Wednesday (June 1).

The Pirates of the Caribbean star had been suing 36-year-old Heard after she referred to herself as a "public figure representing domestic abuse" in an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post back in 2018.


Despite not mentioning Depp by name, his lawyers argued the article was about him and subsequently resulted in him losing work. The actor repeatedly denied any allegations that he was physically violent toward Heard.

Watch the moment the verdict was revealed in court:


Heard had attempted to countersue for $100 million for comments made by Adam Waldman, Depp's former lawyer. She also stated that she was only ever violent against Depp in self-defense or in defense of her younger sister, per NBC News.

Although the jury did award Heard $2 million in damages based on her countersuit, it was Depp that was awarded the landfall victory, with the court ruling that he was entitled to $10 million in compensatory damages and punitive damages of $5 million.

However, you may have seen several headlines on social media alluding to Heard only having to pay her ex-husband $10.35 million. And here's why...
Credit: REUTERS / Alamy
As reported by Indy100, due to the fact the trial took place in Fairfax, Virginia, state law states that the maximum in punitive damages a court can award is $350,000.

So, although the jury awarded Depp $5 million, Virginia law requires the judge to reduce this figure down to $350,000.


However, although Judge Penney Azcarate has dropped the punitive damages to the state statutory limit, Heard's attorney has since stated that the Aquaman star can "absolutely not" pay the full $10.35 million judgment.

Speaking in an interview on the TODAY show, attorney Elaine Bredehoft spoke out against the court's ruling.

You can watch the clip below:


"A number of things were allowed in this court that should not have been allowed, and it caused the jury to be confused," Bredehoft said. "And it caused the jury to be confused."

When TODAY host mentioned the role social media played in the high-profile case and asked the lawyer if the jury could've been influenced by it. Bredehoft replied: "There's no way they couldn't have been influenced by social media. And it was horrible. It was lopsided."


When host Savannah Guthrie asked if Heard would be able to pay the $10.4 million in damages, Bredehoft responded: "Oh, no, absolutely not."

Additionally, Heard, herself, has spoken out about the court's ruling.

In a statement released on social media, the actor said she was "disappointed" at the outcome of the trial, adding: "I'm heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband.

"I'm even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women."




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